When they start the summer holidays feel as if they are going to last forever! When September arrives we know the autumn term at school is just around the corner. Schools are often used as the settings for books because it’s an environment that the readers are familiar with. It’s reassuring to know that the characters from books we love also have to go school and have to deal with the pressures of homework and exams, difficult teachers and the challenges of friendships.
Charlie and Lola: I am too absolutely small for school by Lauren Child Age 3 and above
Lola has been told that it will soon be time for her to start school. She is not sure she has time for school as she is very busy and her invisible friend, Soren Lorenson, is worried about going to school on his own.
Harry and the dinosaurs go to school – Ian Whybrow Age 3 and above
Harry is very nervous on his first day of school and is very pleased to have his dinosaurs to keep him company. He notices another boy who clinging to his toy bulldozer and refusing to talk to anyone. Harry decides to see if he and the dinosaurs can help.
Topsy and Tim start school – Jean and Gareth Adamson Age 3 and above
The Topsy and Tim series of books have recently been updated with new artwork but the twins are still instantly recognisable. This book aims to reassure readers who are about to start school that school is fun and show them what they might expect to happy in lessons and in the playground.
Please Mrs Butler by Allan Ahlberg Age 6 and above
This fantastic collection of lively poems about school life recently celebrated its 30th birthday. It is still as able as it always was to engage and entertain readers using rhyming and rhythmic poems to describe the strange and unusual things that happen in primary schools.
The Worst Witch – Jill Murphy Age 6 and above
Mildred Hubble is a pupil at Miss Cackle’s Academy for witches. She often makes an awful mess of her spells and always has trouble flying her broomstick. In the first in the series of 6 books Mildred’s errors and mistakes create are entertaining but readers will be amazed as she manages to save the day in the end!
Puppy academy: Scout and the sausage thief by Gillian Lewis Age 6 and above
Scout the puppy dreams of catching Frank Furter the Sausage Thief. Attending lessons at The Puppy Academy should be preparing her to become a police dog like her mum and dad but she keeps making mistakes and causing problems. Can she solve the crimes and make up for her mistakes?
Middle School: The Worst Years of My Life: (Middle School 1) by James Patterson and Chris Tebbetts Age 9 and above
Rafe Khatchadorian has an ace plan to make his first year at Middle School the best year ever. He decides to try to break every rule in his school's oppressive Code of Conduct. Chewing gum in class, running in the hallway and pulling the fire alarm! When Rafe's game starts to catch up with him, he'll have to decide if winning is all that matters, or if he's finally ready to face the rules, bullies, and truths he's been avoiding.
Wonder by RJ Palacio Age 10 and above
Auggie was born with a terrible facial abnormality and has been home-schooled his whole life. He has decided that he wants to attend a real school - and he's dreading it. He wants is to be accepted - but can he convince his new classmates that he's just like them, underneath it all?
Itch by Simon Mayo Age 10 and above
Itchingham Lofte is different from other year 10 boys. Instead of football or computer games, his passion is chemistry. This involves explosions, missing eyebrows, school poisonings and terrible smells. When Itch buys a piece of what he thinks is uranium for his element collection he gradually realises that he now owns a new, radioactive, element which, in the wrong hands, could destroy the world. Oil companies, terrorist cells and the government all want Itch's rock. Who will succeed in control this powerful new element?
Combat zone - Rugby Academy – Tom Palmer Age 10 and above
Woody has been told he must attend Borderlands boarding school as his dad is being posted abroad with the RAF. Initially football Woody is not impressed that the school is totally rugby focussed and tries to leave. When he eventually realises that he has no choice but to stay at the school he discovers a talent he never knew he had!
Within these books are stories about pupils who find school challenging in a variety of ways. There are lots more books about school out there and many of these books are the first in a series, hopefully there is a book for you in this list which will remind you that going back to school in September isn’t as bad as it might seem.
Read, share, enjoy!
I hope that this monthly blog will give readers ideas about which books might appeal to those who are reluctant to read or have dyslexia. Dyslexia Action’s leaflet encouraging young reluctant readers is a good start for those who are looking to support young reluctant readers and readers with dyslexia. Dyslexia Action also offers tuition with specialist teachers to support those who may need extra help. Once needs have been identified, our specialist teachers can work with children, young people and adults to develop coping strategies that can assist with skills like reading and writing. For some, extra tuition can be a life-line.
The Book Blog is written by Alison Keeley who looks after Dyslexia Action’s Learning Centres in the South of England. Prior to joining Dyslexia Action Alison worked as a Deputy Head and for Booktrust. She has always read a wide range of children’s literature even though she technically stopped being a child some time ago. If you have any questions or suggestions about subjects for future blogs please do leave a comment below.
Reading hints and tips leaflet for young reluctant readers